Itialian Lentil Soup

This is a family favorite. Healthy and delicious. Can be made over the stove or thrown in the crockpot. I have done both ways, just depends on what’s going on. It is so easy to throw in what you have. I have used fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, frozen grape tomatoes, it is such a forgiving recipe. I have also made it with real Italian pork sausage (I don’t like it that way, too greasy), chicken sausage links that I cooked and cut up, and with ground Italian style chicken sausage (my favorite.)

Italian Lentil Soup

1 lb. package Italian style chicken sausage
1 onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 C. chicken or vegetable stock
tomatoes (one can diced or a couple fresh diced or a bunch of grape tomatoes, whatever you have or want to use.)
1-1/2 C. Dry lentils
Italian seasonings (Basil, thyme, oregano) or and Italian seasoning blend
1 (10 oz pkg) spinach or a bunch of kale, roughly chopped
1/2 C. cream (optional)

In a large dutch oven, brown the chicken sausage over med. high heat.
Add the veggies and cook and stir for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Pour in the liquid and add the tomatoes.
Add the dry herbs. I usually just sprinkle in some basil, oregano and thyme. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Bring the soup to a low boil, add the dry lentils and turn soup down to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the lentils begin to soften (about 15-25 mins.)
Stir in the spinach or kale and the cream, if using. Cook til greens are wilted.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

*If using a crock pot, cook the chicken and then dump in all the ingredients except the spinach and cream. Cook on low for a few hours, until lentils are soft. Then stir in your greens and cream, if using. 

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